Doctor intervenes in worried mum's mould-riddled Hackney 'house of horror'
'My daughter is sick every two to three weeks...' Terri told ITV News London
A distraught mum living in a mould-riddled 'house of horror' in East London said she fears for her family's health and even a doctor got involved to put pressure on the council.
Terri Harrigan is surrounded by large patches of black mould everywhere she goes in her flat in Hackney.
Conditions are so bad her young daughter ended up in A&E with breathing problems and after four years of living with damp Terri is desperate for something to be done.
"We recently washed the mould because where people sleep we don't want it to get too bad," Terri told ITV News London.
"I'm not happy about my daughter sleeping next to so much mould.
"It is stressful, especially if one of them gets ill, it makes me think is it because they are sleeping next to this.
"My daughter is sick every two to three weeks with some form of cold or respiratory issues so we always end up in the hospital or doctors who send us to A&E because she cannot breathe very well when she gets sick," she added.
There is no escaping the mould in Terri's flat because the unsightly black stains have spread to every room.
She said the worst affected areas are the bathroom and her bedroom.
A doctor became so concerned for the family's health they urged the council to ensure safer living conditions - and mould can be deadly.
Earlier this year ministers announced a review of landlord guidance on the health risks of damp and mould following the death of a young child.
Two-year-old Awaab Ishak died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mould in the one-bedroom housing association flat where he lived with his parents, Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin, in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
More than half of private renters in England – including 1.6 million children – are living in excessively cold, damp or mouldy homes, a survey by Citizens Advice suggests.
The government has tabled an amendment to the Social Housing Bill that would place strict, legally binding timelines on social landlords to fix serious health hazards such as damp and mould. Citizens Advice is calling for this protection to be extended to private tenants suffering in squalid conditions in rental properties too.
"[My daughter being sick] is extremely frustrating," Terri added.
"It puts a strain on me mentally - I don't like seeing her sick.
"The most frustrating part is you report it and nothing gets done about it," she explained.
Hackney Council is the landlord and has apologised with a promise to fix the problem, however other residents in the block have similar damp issues.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know